Melbourne – Brunching Out

Brunches are the craze in Melbourne, with the likes of Top Paddock, Hammer and Tong, Hardware Societe, etc. conquering the scene with top notch dishes and quality brews. I was keen to see what the best had to offer, and started by making my way into South Yarra, before the brunch herd arrives at the Top Paddock.

Top Paddock

Thanks to some light showers, the crowd at Top Paddock, located in South Yarra, seemed rather manageable and we managed to secure a table rather quickly. As expected, the place looked mighty chic and hipster friendly, adorned with various flower arrangements and even a real fireplace! Which is actually much welcome with the cold, wet Melbourne weather today morning.

Top Paddock
Top Paddock

Today, I decided for something savoury, as I would be heading to a patiserrie rendezvous soon after. Thus I had opted for the crowd pleaser, Eggs Benedict with a Bearnaise twist, augmented with a healthy dose of ham hock. Damn that was good! And the poached egg, might I add, was perfect.

Eggs Benedict with poached egg, ham hock, and bearnaise sauce
Eggs Benedict with poached egg, ham hock, and bearnaise sauce

Well, that was absolutely fantastic. Top Paddock is definitely deserving of the praises received, and should be in your food itinerary if you fancy a good, proper brunch.

And I realized something, enlightened by my friend, that it’s almost impossible to get bad coffee in Melbourne. Horrendous, insipid brews would lead to that particular establishment facing the guillotines, and forever etched in the annals of ineptitude. So yeah, if you’re looking to open a cafe in Melbourne, you better get your barista skills up to snuff.

Anyway, onwards to the next Brunch candidate!

Translating from French, it means “the honey and the moon”. This simple little cafe is located near the University of Melbourne, along Cardigan street, and is easily reacheable from trams along Swanston St. e.g. Tram No. 1 and 8.
Le Miel
Le Miel et la Lune

Unsurprisingly, the coffee is excellent. But more importantly, lets move on to the French Toast. To be honest, I’m not craziest fan of butterscotch, as it can be quite overwhelming on a dish. But, I think this cafe might have done it just right. The french toast is served with bananas, a dusting of pistachios, ham, and coated with a hefty dose of butterscotch.

Banana and Butterscotch french toast
Banana and Butterscotch french toast

Portion wise, it is ample and definitely fills up your belly. I loved it, although I may have suffered from a minor food coma upon completion. Nevertheless, it was totally worth it!

And then, there were three.

Hammer and Tong 412

Don’t be fooled by the Soviet Union-ish emblem, and I assure you, there’s no borscht or blini Demidoff’s served at this particular establishment, my dear comrade. Although there are plenty of beetroot in this particular continent.

Hammer and Tong 412
Hammer and Tong 412

Here’s me below trying to get fancy with my new HTC One M8 camera. And of course, it was bloody good coffee. I’m honestly not a coffee connoiseur, not by a long shot. But it was smooth, minimal bitterness, and even the foam on the cappuccino had some heft to it.

Coffee
Coffee

Now for the star, the soft shell crab burger. Now, I was a bit skeptical about this. I’ve heard folks raving this place and their famous burger, and I was like, nooooo wayyyy. It can’t be that awesome. But yet, it is!

IMAG0679
Soft Shell Crab Burger

What struck me first upon consumption was how perfectly sized the burger was, which fits comfortably into one’s mouth. The perfectly crispy soft shell crab was paired with a rather unctuous mayonnaise, that just made it perfect with the nicely, and for lack of a better term, “squishy” bun. I could easily have had another burger, but there are so many more dishes to try, and yet so little time!

They had a special dessert today, and I was aching to give it a go.

Apple Crumble
Apple Crumble

Now, isn’t this a beautiful dish? A de-constructed apple crumble, adorned with purple violets, and a delicious cinnamon ice cream. It actually tasted as good as it looks.

I can’t imagine that I barely skimmed the surface in terms of brunch places in Melbourne, and with many more contenders worthy of a visit, such as the Hardware Societe, Chez Dre, and so on and so forth. But in the end, everybody has their preference, and who am I to say which is the best and worthy of utter, unquestioned worship and reverence. If you’re visiting Melbourne, just pick a few decent brunch places that tickles your fancy and with decent reviews. Honestly, it’s really hard to go wrong.

Top Paddock – 658 Church St., Richmond, Victoria. +61 3 9429 4332

Le Miel et la Lune – 330 Cardigan St., Melbourne, Victoria.

Hammer and Tong 412 – Rear 412 Brunswick St. Fitzroy, Victoria. +61 3 9041 6033

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